Compatibility for Intel® Xeon® Processor 5600 Series and Intel® Server Boards

Documentation

Product Information & Documentation

000007685

02/07/2018

Can I use the Intel® Xeon® Processor 5600 Series in non-R revision Intel® Server Boards and Systems based on the Intel® S5500 and S5520 Chipset family?

Yes, the hardware is compatible, but the server board has to be at BIOS 45 minimum to boot with Intel® Xeon® Processor 5600 Series installed. Once booted, an upgrade to BIOS 48 must be done for the CPUs to run properly and the new features to become available.

If I don’t need a refresh board to use Intel® Xeon® Processor 5600 Series, why did Intel launch a new R (refresh) revision of Intel® Server Boards and Systems based on the Intel® S5500 and S5520 Chipset family?

The main reason for the board revision change was to identify boards which have BIOS 45 installed ex factory, so that customers know immediately that these boards can boot with an Intel® Xeon® Processor 5600 series installed (as they have the R suffix). These boards also have a chipset stepping change from B3 to C2. The chipset stepping change contains minor erratum fixes as well as support for Intel® Trusted Execution Technology? (Intel® TXT). However, a C2 stepping of the chipset is not required to run Intel® Xeon® Processor 5600 Series.

I understand that with an Intel® Xeon® Processor 5600 Series I can populate two memory channels fully and they will run at 1333 Mhz, rather than clocking down to 1066 Mhz. Is this due to a hardware or BIOS change?

The capability to run two fully populated memory channels at 1333 Mhz comes with the Intel® Xeon® Processor 5600 Series and the supporting BIOS 48. It is not due to a hardware change on the boards. Currently shipping boards with BIOS update will support all frequencies, and all features on Intel® Xeon® 5600 Processors. However, to upgrade a non-refresh board with a BIOS version lower than 45, an Intel® Xeon® 5500 Processor must be used.

What is Intel® Trusted Execution Technology (Intel® TXT)?

Intel® Trusted Execution Technology (Intel® TXT) is a family of security capabilities within the processor, the chipset and Intel® Trusted Platform Module (Intel® TPM), which work together to prevent software attacks. On the client side it is known as Intel® VPro Platform.

  • Intel® TXT works through measurement, memory locking and sealing secrets.

  • Intel® TXT helps detect and/or prevent software attacks.

  • Attempts to insert non-trusted VMM (rootkit Hypervisor*).

  • Reset attacks designed to compromise platform secrets in memory.

  • BIOS and firmware update attacks.

To find out more about Intel® TXT, go to Enhanced Data Protection with Hardware-Assisted Security.

Do all Intel® Server Boards and Systems based on the Intel® S5500 and S5520 Chipset with the C2 stepping support Intel® Trusted Execution Technology (Intel® TXT)?

No, the C2 stepping of the chipset supports the features, but not all Intel® refresh boards have the Intel® Trusted Platform Module (Intel® TPM) chip which is required to work with the CPU and the C2 stepping of the chipset to make Intel® Trusted Execution Technology (Intel® TXT) work. Intel will launch separate Intel® TXT SKUs of some of the current Intel® Server Board S5520 Family. Talk to your distributor or Intel field representative for further information on the Intel® TXT SKUs.

To download the latest BIOS for your Intel® Server Board, visit the Intel® Download Center.